Because I needed to weep some more . . . once again . . .

This is a repeat of a blog that I posted in 2013. The video showed up on my tumblr dash today, and it still hit me as hard as it did the first time, and since I am mired in forms and calculations and percentages, this is probably far better than anything I could come up with my own. I suggest watching the video as large as allowable.

The Encounter Collection by Stephen Kenn explores the significant act of passing an object on from one generation to the next. It is in this exchange, accompanied by words of wisdom, that a boy is often called to a life of courage. While aware that everyone’s life experience is unique, and often painful, this film focuses on the experience of a boy losing his father and yet retaining the love and passion that was intended for him.

Stephenkenn.com
ProcessCreative.tv

DISCIPLINES
Creative Development: Process Creative and Stephen Kenn
Ideation
Direction
Production
Cinematography
Editorial

Music Curation: Ryan Taubert
Sound Design: White Noise Lab
Color: Matt Fezz
Letter and Voice Over: James Watson
Young Boy: Bradley Aiello
Boy: Lucas Aiello

Stephen Kenn // Process Creative // The Encounter Collection

(Transcript as best as I can decipher it, * indicates unknown. Corrections welcomed)

20 October 1944
US Army/Air Force Base
Spinazzola, Italy

Dear Son,

I hoped I would never write this to you. In a little less than an hour I’ll be strapping myself into my old plane and pointing it nose westward. I’ve seen the orders . . . I think it’ll be for the last time.

And so suddenly I find my life stripped away, like the branches of an old, black tree. All that matters is that I write this to you. I know you won’t remember me, not really. When I spent three days with you last year when you were six months old, and, though you can’t yet understand it, I . . . loved you more then than you might imagine loving anybody right now.

Now listen to me. This uh life, know that it is precious. You’ve gotta grasp at every little whiff of it that passes by you. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be certain. Not now, and not in your unimaginable future. Don’t be surprised, no. Embrace the stiff winds, and the lonely heights.

Remember your name. Never turn away from the bright course because it is hard. But above all, love. Scrape out the bottom of your soul and love for all your worth.

And when you find her, risk everything. Die a thousand deaths to get her. Don’t look back. When you grow older, older than I’ll ever be, blow on the embers of that first heroic choice. And you’ll be warmed, sustained.

Someday you’ll have a son. Remember he is your greatest gift. Tell him these things. Make a man of him. Love him.

Don’t live to get money. Have a few things, but make them good things. Take care of them, learn how they work. There is beauty in the smell of good machines and old leather.

When you walk, alone, in the autumn. Down roads at night, with the trees tossing in the sunset, know that I would give everything to walk with you, and tell you their names. But I am there, in the light through the branches. And I am loving you where I see you.

I must go now.

All my love, forever and ever,
Dad.

“Time does not bring relief; you all have lied…” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, from “[Time Does Not Bring Relief]”

Daphne Allen Night Covers the World with her Hair c1914-16

“Night Covers the World with Her Hair (c1914-16, watercolor)
by Daphne Allen

                   

“In the uncertain hour before the morning
Near the ending of interminable night” ~ T. S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding”

In the first part of the dream, the surgeon cuts out a small piece of my mother’s heart, about the size of a quarter. He hands it to me and tells me to pump it whenever she dies, and it will bring her back to life. I take the small piece of flesh and examine it, see the striations, wonder how I am supposed to do this. I awaken to the phone ringing.

Somehow, I go back to sleep, and the dream continues: My mother has come back to life, even though she died, even though she has been cremated (but in the dream she has been buried next to my father), she is back, and she knows that this is just a temporary pardon. For some reason, I go to a city official’s office. I don’t think it’s for a job interview, but it might be. He likes me. Not like that, but in a professional admiring way, says that he might be able to find a position for me in his government. I leave and go to a room where employees can rest. An old friend from high school is there, and she is still playing games with my head. We see a pile of shoes that someone has delivered as give-aways. I see a pair of sandals that I would like to get for Alexis, but I am not interested in the pumps with spiked heels as I no longer need to wear heels to work, but then I think that I might get this job. Someone comes to get me, tells me that the boss is waiting for me. I find out that there is a huge meeting of all the employees, and I’m late. I get a phone call at the last minute, and I find out that Corey is at work with a female co-worker, has no intention of taking care of my mother because he’s decided to stay with this woman, and I realize that my mother is at home alone, and I know that she is going to die soon. I have to decide between making the telephone call or going to the meeting. I take my phone into the meeting. My friend from high school is supposed to help me with the presentation, but she keeps messing me up on purpose to make me look stupid. I walk out, finally get my mother on the phone. She has walked down the block. I ask her why she has left the house as she knows that she is dying. She tells me she cannot sleep, and cannot stay in the house forever. I find her on the neighbor’s lawn. She is not dead yet. I put my hand in my pocket looking for the part of her heart that the surgeon has given me, but I cannot find it. I realize that no one is going to help me.

I am awakened once again by the telephone ringing…………………

Music by Andy Shauf, “Comfortable with the Silence”

                    

Go Ahead; Goodbye; Good Luck;
and Watch Out

You get to Gilead, let me know. That balm,
supposed to be so good for human hurts
—all wounds, holes, hollows, hungriness—
you tell me if it’s there, and how it works.

Till the time comes, I’ll look for further ways
with the old lack, the void, push it along
ahead of me in the only way we have
to carry this luggage of ours of hungriness
like an empty bag. You look, though. Let me know.

~ William Bronk

April is National Poetry Month

519-521 North Third Street by VCU Libraries c1978

519-521 North Third Street
by VCU Libraries (c1978)

The One Who Disappeared

Now that it’s warm to sit on the porch at night
Someone happened to remember a neighbor
Though it had been more than thirty years
Since she went for a little walk after dinner
And never came back to her husband and children.

No one present could recall much about her,
Except how she’d smile and grow thoughtful
All of a sudden and would not say what about,
When asked, as if she already carried a secret,
Or was heartbroken that she didn’t have one.

~ Charles Simic (The New Yorker, April 7, 2014)

Friday leftovers . . .

Turtle bullying . . . it’s a thing . . .

Turtle Bullies

Meerkat, definitely meerkat . . .

Fox News, just gotta love em for their unbiased reporting of pseudo facts . . .

Inspector Lestrade: Not my division

And finally, a Game of Thrones remix: “The Dragon’s Daughter” . . .

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Never managed to get together a Two for Tuesday post, but here, have some awesome E. A. Poe:

Reblogged from My Modern Met

Ghostly Edgar Allan Poe Statue is Coming to Boston


Boston, come this fall, you’re going to get one awesome statue. Professional sculptor Stefanie Rocknak beat out 265 other artists from 42 states and 13 countries to create a sculpture honoring author and poet Edgar Allan Poe. A five-member artist selection committee decided on Rocknak’s stunning work that shows Poe with a suitcase in hand and a raven in front of him. Boston is the place of Poe’s birth.

“I propose to cast a life-size figure of Poe in bronze. Just off the train, the figure would be walking south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas—and worldwide success—is finally coming home,” said Rocknak of the design she calls Poe Returning to Boston. “His expression is complex. He is determined and his stride is decisive. His face reflects a mixture of pain, anger and sadness, and from some angles, a subtle sense of hope. As he walks towards Carver Street, he openly dismisses what is behind him with his left hand; the Frogpondians to the north. Boston is not claiming Poe, Poe is claiming Boston. To punctuate this, he leaves a literal paper trail behind him. He has not only left his mark on the world, he has left it on the city of his birth. His ideas are jumping off the page and cascading out of his trunk; a heart lies just behind him, and an oversized Raven explodes to the south. The Raven, which has become symbolic of Poe’s brooding creative spirit, visually reflects Poe; his coat mimics the raven’s wing, and, like a bird, Poe is slightly pigeon-toed. They are one, heading up-wind towards their final resting place.”

“The sense of Poe returning triumphant with creative ideas bursting forth from his suitcase is very appealing,” according to project manager Jean Mineo. “The review committee, and public input, conveyed great excitement with the dynamic sense of movement, accessible style, and Poe’s creative energy expressed in the proposal. There is also strong support for Steff’s approachable, ground level statue that helps humanize Poe and place him in the context of this active neighborhood,” Mineo said.

The eerie, ghost-like statue, which will be life-sized or approximately 5’ 8” tall, is set to be unveiled on October 4, 2014, just three days before the 165th anniversary of the writer’s death. (This is the final design model in clay.) It will live at the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South or the place where Mayor Menino dubbed “Edgar Allan Poe Square.” This is just two blocks north of where Poe was born back in 1809.





Edgar Allan Poe Square Public Art Project
via [The Artery]

“I’d prefer that people such as I get our rights because we command respect and evince dignity, but if we get them because there’s money in it, that’s fine.” ~ Andrew Solomon, from The New Yorker blog (April 5, 2014)

This is perfect for a drizzly Monday afternoon . . .

Reblogged from The New Yorker (to see full post, click on link)

honeymaid-580.jpg

Honey Maid and the Business of Love

For a long time, prejudice made a certain business sense. You could argue that it was immoral or wrong; others insisted that it was moral and godly. But there was little dispute about the business piece of it. Bill Clinton liked gay people, but he signed the Defense of Marriage Act nonetheless. Karl Rove knew it was smart to put all those anti-gay-marriage initiatives on the ballot. Coors beer could advertise in gay magazines while funding anti-gay interests and keeping any hint of the “non-traditional” out of the ads it ran for general audiences. The regressive side in the so-called culture wars was presumed to include a majority of American consumers; businesses, worried about their image, tended to defer to them.

Now, Honey Maid, that old-fashioned brand of graham crackers, has launched an ad that shows, in the most radical and moving way of any national campaign so far, how much that has changed. It shows a two-dad family, a rocker family, a single dad, an interracial family, a military family. The two-dad household is featured at some length; you cannot be distracted away from it. Most striking is the tagline of the ad: “No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will. Honey Maid. Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family. This is wholesome.” The ad is deeply heartwarming—not simply because it shows diversity (which other companies have done) but because it labels these families with the word “wholesome,” which is exactly the kind of word that tends to get claimed by the evangelical right. People have long suggested that the new structures of the American family are “unwholesome” as a way of rationalizing intolerance. The idea of what is “against nature” has been central to messages of prejudice about both interracial relationships and homosexuality.

Honey Maid knew its ad would provoke controversy, and it did. So the company has made a follow-up spot that has been released on social media. “On March 10th, 2014, Honey Maid launched ‘This is wholesome,’ a commercial that celebrates all families,” the online short proclaims. “Some people didn’t agree with our message.” Viewers see close-ups of tweets and e-mails with remarks such as “Horrible, NOT ‘WHOLESOME,’” “DO NOT APPROVE!,” and “Disgusting!!” The title card says, “So we asked two artists to take the negative comments and turn them into something else.” We then see thirty-year-olds Linsey Burritt and Crystal Grover, who collaborate under the name INDO, taking a printout of each hateful comment and rolling it into a tube, then grouping the tubes at one end of a vast, industrial-looking space to create an assemblage that spells out “Love.” The artists appear to walk away, their work done. Then the online ad proclaims, “But the best part was all the positive messages we received. Over ten times as many.” Then we see e-mails with epithets such as “family is family” and “love the Honey Maid ad” and “this story of a beautiful family” and “most beautiful thing.” The entire room fills up with tubes made from these messages. Finally, we are told, “Proving that only one thing really matters when it comes to family … ,” and then we see the word “love” embraced by a roomful of paper tubes. The pacing of the spot is impeccable: the first half turns hatred into love, and the second half provides evidence of love itself. In its first day online, it garnered more than 1.5 million views.

“I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron.” ~ Tillie Olsen, from “I Stand Here Ironing”

Edgar Degas Woman Ironing c1876-87 oil on canvas

“Woman Ironing” (c1876-87, oil on canvas)
by Edgar Degas

                   

You’ve heard of something being as boring as watching paint peel? How about being as boring as ironing a shirt? Yep. Ironing a shirt. The pure mundane nature of this video kind of represents my daily goal at the moment: to keep things as mundane as possible, else I become overwhelmed by it all . . . that and it’s pretty cool to see how someone actually achieves all of those creases, not to mention it reminds me of the days I used to iron Corey’s Coast Guard shirts with the required seven creases, two in the front, three in the back and one on each sleeve, which reminds me of one of my all-time favorite short stories: “I Stand Here Ironing,” by Tillie Olsen, which is where I got the name Tillie for our labrador. That’s one big heap of memories all from a man ironing a shirt, which just goes to show that no matter how hard you try to keep things simple, you can’t . . .

                   

Ironing Their Clothes

With a hot glide up, then down, his shirts,
I ironed out my father’s back, cramped
and worried with work. I stroked the yoke,
the breast pocket, collar and cuffs,
until the rumpled heap relaxed into the shape
of my father’s broad chest, the shoulders shrugged off
the world, the collapsed arms spread for a hug.
And if there’d been a face above the buttondown neck,
I wold have pressed the forehead out, I would
have made a boy again out of that tired man!

If I clung to her skirt as she sorted the wash
or put out a line, my mother frowned,
a crease down each side of her mouth.
this is no time for love! But here
I could linger over her wrinkled bedjacket,
with the hot tip. Here i caressed complications
of darts, scallops, ties pleats which made
her outfits test of the patience of my passion.
Here I could lay my dreaming iron on her lap…

The smell of baked cotton rose from the board
and blew with a breeze out of the window
to the family wardrobe drying on the clothesline,
all needing a touch of my iron. Here I could tickle
the underarms of my big sister’s petticoat
or secretly pat the backside of her pajamas.
For she too would have warned me not to muss
her fresh blouses, starched jumpers, and smocks,
all that my careful hand had ironed out,
forced to express my excess love on cloth.

~ Julia Alvarez